There’s a general thought among some people at the moment that the music industry is headed in rather a dire direction. With music production on the rise and “pop stars” being churned out by big record labels and TV shows every so often, it’s not all that surprising that people have lost a bit of faith. With it being so easy to make music these days, it has become more accessible to those who, before, wouldn't have been interested, lessening the divide between music-maker and music-listener. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It just means that things are different to how they used to be.
Being in a surprising minority of people who play a musical instrument, I am not only in love music and the way it sounds in our ears and memories, but I am also crazy about why it sounds like that. The technical detail, the theory behind it all. It’s fascinating. But it is quite rare to find an outlet that can provide for these kind of romances. We usually hear the music, see the music video, there might be a 5-minute, behind the scenes extra on the tour DVD if you’re lucky, but that’s about it.
And this is where Noisey and Phillips come in. They have come together to create You Need To Hear This. Not: You Should Maybe Listen To This, or: It Would Be Good If You Could Possibly Listen To This. Nope. You NEED to hear this. Described in their own words: “The platform promises to filter out the trash and re-ignite your obsession with sound, by documenting and exploring creativity in music."
“‘You Need To Hear This’ won’t be relentlessly looking for “the next big thing”, but instead, will present the most exciting, original and authentic stories in music culture through music videos, short films, documentaries and live events, bringing you new music in ways you have never heard before.”
There has been a massive gap out there for something like this for a long while. Jen Long of BBC Radio 1 and Kissability introduced it to us at the launch as something for “music geeks”, which I thought was great.
The launch was held in Dalston. When I arrived, I really thought I had gone to the wrong place. On the outside, The King’s Head looked like an abandoned, old pub. But on the inside… Well, it was like going through that wardrobe and ending up in Narnia. A beautifully renovated club with various different floors. We were ushered downstairs to a basement type room, and there was a DJ playing in the corner and a guy coming round with hors d’oeuvres. It was just a really classy do.
After about an hour of milling around, Ms. Long gathered us all together and explained the concept, and we were played four videos on a screen. The first was a documentary following the band, Is Tropical, on their trip to Mongolia, making them the first British band to have ever played there. Not only was it very interesting to see their journey, but it was very humbling and moving, and that’s credit not only due to the people involved in front of the camera, but the way it has been edited and shot by the people behind it. If this is the type of thing we are to expect from You Need To Hear This, then I’m pretty sure they got it covered. And I’m excited to see what they will do next.
Later on Ms. Long spoke about her love of cassettes as a child and of Kissability, which I think is her record label that releases music purely on tapes. As a 90’s kid, I was happy to see my old friends the cassettes, and good to hear that they are making a comeback. CDs and MP3s are obviously great and convenient, but it wasn’t quite the same.
The next video was about a radio station in London called NTS, run solely by everyday people. I've always been interested in radio, and this was intriguing to see how people do it.
The last video was about vinyl records. I always feel slightly wistful about vinyl. It was before my time, and everyone who owned it talks of it with such fond memories. I’ve also seen documentaries talking about the differences between vinyl and CD or MP3. They say that neither of those can match the sound quality of a vinyl player.
Something else that these videos inadvertently taught me was just how influential and instrumental Phillips have been in the world of sound. I hadn't previously thought about it, but they have been there every step of the way, leading the way in fact. So yeah, kudos!
Photos by Victor Frankowski